Former President Goodluck Jonathan has stated his side to the allegation of receiving gratification to approve the Malabu Oil transaction while he was in office. Jonathan’s reaction came through his spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze, about 24 hours after news hit Nigeria that he had been indicted in Italy.
In the lengthy statement explaining what transpired, the former president said he did not send anyone including Abubakar Aliyu, a businessman, to receive bribe on his behalf, according to a report by Premium Times.
“Our attention has been drawn to news reports published mostly by online media which suggested through innuendo, rather than factual evidence, that former President Goodluck Jonathan received kickbacks in the $1.3bn OPL 245 oil block deal involving oil giants ENI and Royal Dutch Shell.
“With regards to the publication, we wish to make it clear that former President Jonathan was not accused, indicted or charged for corruptly collecting any monies as kickbacks or bribes from ENI by the Italian authorities or any other law enforcement body the world over.
“In the first place, we have to categorically state that the negotiations and transactions for the oil block deal predate the presidency of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan which began on 6th May 2010 and ended on 29th May 2015.
“It may interest those promoting this false narrative to know that all the documents relating to the transactions, issues and decisions of the federal government on the Malabo issue, during the Jonathan administration, are in the office of the Attorney General of the federation/minister of Justice,” the statement said.
The statement said as president, Jonathan met with the executives of all the oil majors operating in Nigeria and urged them to, amongst other things, support the growth of the Nigerian oil industry by ramping up their investments and complying with the Local Content Act that he promoted and signed into law.
“We however wish to state, for emphasis, that at no time did the former president holds private meetings with representatives of ENI to discuss pecuniary issues. All the meetings and discussions former President Jonathan had with ENI, other IOCs and some indigenous operators were conducted officially, and in the presence of relevant Nigerian Government officials and were done in the best interest of the country.
“We make bold to point out that the former President never sent any Abubakar Aliyu, as the innuendoes in the false report suggest, to ENI, the IOCs or any indigenous operator to seek favour or collect any gratification on his behalf,” the statement added while stressing that Jonathan does not own any bank account, aircraft or real estate outside Nigeria.
The president urged anybody with any contrary information to make it available recalling that he signed the Freedom of Information Act into law to lift the veil on governance and encourage transparency knowing that evil breeds in secrecy.